Required contribution rates for Wisconsin Retirement System employers and employees will increase slightly in 2020. The Employee Trust Funds Board approved the rate changes June 20, following an annual report by the retirement system’s consulting actuary.

While several factors affect WRS contribution rates, the increases are necessary primarily because of two factors: the effects of lower-than-expected Core Trust Fund investment performance and economic assumption changes approved by the board last December, as a result of a three-year experience study.

Contribution rate changes, whether increases or decreases, are considered normal for retirement systems—like the WRS—that pre-fund retirement benefits. 2019 rates, for example, were lowered from 2018 to 2019 for most employees, due to favorable investment performance.

The new rates go into effect for salaries and wages paid beginning January 1, 2020. The total contribution rates, expressed as a percentage of salary, are listed for each employee category in the following table.

WRS Required Contribution Rates

Employee Category

General, Executive and Elected Officials

Protective with
Social Security
Protective without
Social Security


2020 2019 2020 2019 2020 2019
Employer Cost







Employee Cost 6.75% 6.55% 6.75% 6.55% 6.75% 6.55%
Total Cost 13.5% 13.1% 18.4% 17.1% 23% 21.5%

Note: Rates for other mandatory employer-paid contributions (e.g., duty disability, the state's Accumulated Sick Leave Conversion Credit Program) or unfunded liabilities are not included in the above figures.

The total required contribution rates (“total cost”) are generally split evenly between employees and employers. Contributions are paid in full, ensuring full funding of future WRS benefits.

In addition, the ETF Board approved the following for these employer-paid benefit programs:

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